Suffering alone with depression …? [Ways to handle depression (Part-1)]

Brokenness and depression

Good and dedicated people are sometimes depressed when their goodness is taken for a ride. When there is continued suffering, exploitation, hopelessness, separations, unexpected tragedy and injustice people become upset and if it continues for a long time, it may result it depression. I have met persons who are depressed due to disappointment and unresolved issues of life where they are used and thrown out by some manipulators. Here the brokenness is there because one’s goodness is not understood or out of jealousy or other manipulations people are side tracked or abandoned.


Dr. Suresh one of our Professors of Psychology, from Annamalai University, Tamilnadu, India, in one of his lectures on counselling psychology told us the following, “Counselling psychologists will never lack work, because  the depression is on the increase. It is due to the fact that people don’t take care of themselves. By the year 2020, it may become a reality that one out of every three persons may require a counselling psychologist or a psychiatrist.” He said this 12 years ago and asked us prepare well so that we could help the humanity.

Reality today

Depression is suffered by considerable number of people in our society. It is a state where one looses life energy, feels tired, lonely, irritated for simple things, and gets into depressive mood often.

According to Medical Dictionary depression is defined as a mental state of altered mood characterized by feelings of sadness, despair, and discouragement, distinguished from grief, which is realistic and proportionate to a personal loss. Profound depression may be an illnessitself, such as ‘Major Depressive Disorder.’

Making a research on suicide the following team of US psychiatrist namely Steve Daviss, Annette Hanson & Dinah Miller published a book titled “Rising Suicide Rates: Have We Simply Failed?” In it they point to fact that the suicide rate is increasing but the ‘why’ of it is not clearly known. Today, May 8, 2013). According to them

The news from the Centers for Disease Control shows a striking increase in sucide rates.  Among those ages 35 to 64 years old  (the baby boomers), there is a 28% increase in suicide rates from 1999 to 2010. It holds for males (up 27%), females (up 31%), and across different regions of the country.  The peaks were seen in men in their 50’s and women in their early 60’s.  The gender difference continues to show that men die of suicide at three times the rate of women, and suicide is now the 4th cause of death for that age group.  More people die of suicide than car accidents.  The rise is most striking in non-Hispanic whites and Native American Alaskan Indians, groups that have always had the highest rates.  The  suicide rate is now 17 per 100,000, up from 13 per 100,000.  And while we worry more about homicide, suicide rates are twice the homicide rates.  Marriage is protective, as is a college education, and in fact the suicide rate in college-educated women went down.


There are also heated arguments among the experts to further make the DSM (Diagnostic Statistical Manual) more relevant with some more deeper study. (Edward Shorter, Ph.D. in How Everyone Became Depressed, May 8, 2013 in Psychology Today )


Image from July August 2010 ‘Rescue New Letter.’


Ordinary depression lasts for a short period and the person is able to recover from it soon or by a slight change of activity. This is caused by stress filled day, worries, lack of rest, tensions, etc.,

On the other hand the clinical depression has many precipitating factors like hereditary, continued exposure to violence, continued illness, hopelessness, sudden loss of something held very dearly, stress and even suicidal attempts.

Hope in depression:

If you are a person who suffers depression these reflections may throw some light on the intervention process. I shall try to elaborate further about it in the future posts dealing with the various themes centering around depression and how to deal with that. It is the result of dealing with persons suffering different kinds of stress and even depression. Collaborating with psychiatrists gave me more insights and clarity in this subject. Whatever is helpful you are welcome to take and always be open to the suggestions of the psychiatrists and other physicians in case of acute depression.


Prepare yourself to do something:

I would always invite those who suffer depression of any sort to prepare themselves to do something about it. It is a multi-faceted initiative which would involve the psycho-socio-physical & spiritual aspects of life.

Get help: the first suggestion would be to consult a physician along with a trained counselling psychologist if you experience continued symptoms of depression and burn outs. Immediate interventions will do something to handle the current conditions that makes one to suffer. And in the long run one has to plot through a way of self-care, faithfulness to medication, support groups, counselling to heal the wounds and persevere in the healing process. To be continued…!

[I dedicate these reflections to late Dr. Rasheed MD of Rasheed Hospital, Trichy, Tamilnadu, India who trained me in Clinical Psychology with lots of fatherly tenderness and insights. May God reward him in His abode!]

Charles Alphonse

A way to be happy is …?

Happiness & Holistic Integration

Do you know the way to be happy? Happiness is one of the human emotions that we human beings tend to seek every now and then. True happiness can be found in varied ways. We need to find a way to happiness that fits into our way of life and temperament.  John Powell, the great psychologist wrote a book on “Happiness is an inside Job.” In that book he highlights that some blame others for their lack of happiness. In reality the choice is ours to take it or to pursue the ways to happiness.


Possible hurdles to happiness & A way out of it:

Some months ago a very rich person said that every now and then he is feeling lonely and sad.  He was living a well-planned but isolated way of life where there was very limited space for social interest. In the course of our dialogue he agreed  to reach out to his needy neighbors few times a week. And that reaching out to the other selflessly, he later said, brought him some joy. There is an inexplicable joy in making someone happy and enjoy that. Try this if you are feeling low and dull. My sadness may be the result of my selfishness and closed outlook of life and relationships. May be true that happiness is invariably connected to sharing of something to someone above all doing something noble & altruistic.

The time to be happy is now… the place to be happy is here…the way to be happy is to make someone happy…” is one of the very inspiring songs I love to listen and get motivated.

Dance around & heal the world

God is said to be doing cosmic dance.  And different religions, particularly Hinduism talk about creation as the result of the Creator’s creative dancing. Wisdom literature in Bible talks about God’s wisdom personified as a lady doing a dance. And later on the same wisdom gets connected to Mother Mary the wisdom embodiment of God’s eternal love which dances with joy. Many religions have their own worship patterns and dance forms a part in some of them. Dancing brings relief and above all happiness to the dancer and to the viewers.

Dance then wherever you may be and whatever may be your burdens and worry dance them out!

Enjoy the dance of this noble elderly person

(Thanks to Br. Joaquim Hangalo Ofm Cap., Rome,( for introducing me to the beautiful world of Social Media & to Mr. Prabhu Christopher, Chennai, India for this lovely video)

If You Want to Be Productive, You Have to Rest

All those that are not properly resting, sometimes, are restless. You may accept this statement. Time out helps us to indentify our core-issues. I appreciate the innovative way in which Mary Helen Immordino has brought out the importance of finding a time for rest and how our brain would exploit those moments to reaccess some of the buried memories of the past. Purposeful recalling this way itself may be healing and through this we may be able to identify our core-issues, which we might have missed considering, and heal them if neccessary. Some core issues could be healed by oneself and few others may require the accompaniment of an expert who will facilitate the inner journey. Sometimes I used to feel for some persons who are lost in their past and are frozen due to the past unhealed memories. We need rest and time to be ourselves. I am glad that there are some good hearts to remind us of that. I have done some posts on the importance of self-care, core-issue identification & Integration on my another blog ( There you may find similar insights. Enjoy the power of time-out and rest! Charles Alphonse


In a recent thought-provoking review of research on the default mode network, Mary Helen Immordino-Yang of the University of Southern California and her co-authors argue that when we are resting the brain is anything but idle and that, far from being purposeless or unproductive, downtime is in fact essential to mental processes that affirm our identities, develop our understanding of human behavior and instill an internal code of ethics—processes that depend on the DMN. Downtime is an opportunity for the brain to make sense of what it has recently learned, to surface fundamental unresolved tensions in our lives and to swivel its powers of reflection away from the external world toward itself. While mind-wandering we replay conversations we had earlier that day, rewriting our verbal blunders as a way of learning to avoid them in the future. We craft fictional dialogue to practice standing up to someone who intimidates us…

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